Boost your Immune System with Chiropractic
Most people are aware of the benefits of chiropractic care for back and neck pain, but a lesser known advantage of chiropractic treatment is improving immune function. The immune system is the body’s line of defense designed to fight off bacterial and viral infections. Many factors contribute to a person’s immune system’s ability to maintain optimal health. Nutrition, exercise, posture, stress, and fatigue are important, but so is the health of your spine. While we are in the midst of cold and flu season, let me explain how chiropractic care can support your immune system and keep you well.
Chiropractic care specifically corrects spinal misalignments called vertebral subluxations. These misalignments of the bony spine can put pressure onthe spinal cordand nerves which exit at each level of the spine. This can cause stress and interference of the nervous system. Simply put, whatever message that is trying to be sent from the brain and out to the body does not get sent properly. Picture a kink in a garden hose. Chiropractic adjustments correct spinal abnormalities thus relieving stress from the nervous system and allowing it to function properly.
The immune system, like every other system in the body, is coordinated and controlled by the nervous system. Specific immune organs including the spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes are all in communication with the master control - the brain - through nerves which connect them. Picture a telephone wire. During an immune response, the brain and the immune system “talk to each other” and coordinate the body’s response to the exposure. This process is essential for maintaining homeostasis or balance in the body. If the nervous system is not functioning properly, then the immune system cannot function properly, and the body becomes susceptible to bacteria, viruses, and illness which it can usually fight off.
Along with correcting spinal misalignments and allowing for a stress free nervous system, the actual adjustment causes an immediate immune boost. A study found that disease fighting white blood cell counts were significantly higher just 15 minutes after chiropractic adjustment. Another study found that increased levels of certain antibodies appear in the bloodstream up to 2 hours after an adjustment which suggests a priming effect of the immune system and a possible faster response to a new infection.
In addition to chiropractic care, other ways to strengthen the immune system naturally include:
Nutrition - Vitamin D - This is a key player in your immune system. 10-15 minutes of sun exposure with 40 percent of your skin exposed can meet daily requirements. Supplements can also be used in it’s active form Vitamin D3. Spinach is an excellent vegetable to eat because it contains other nutrients which increase the absorption and utilization of Vitamin D3.
Vitamin C - This is a long known aid to the body while fighting a cold. While citrus fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C, foods that are less acidic and contain less sugar are a better option for daily consumption. This includes strawberries and raw red pepper.
Avoiding sugar - Sugar is a major enemy of your body’s immune system as it impedes it’s ability to function. Stay away from simple sugars and refined grains, especially when feeling rundown.
Sleep - Your body heals when it is at rest. The optimum amount of sleep is 7-9 hours and can vary between individuals. Listen to your body and answer it’s demands.
As well as correcting spinal misalignments, Chiropractors advise their patients on the importance of healthy lifestyle practices such as diet, exercise, sleep, nutrition, and ergonomics that can positively influence the nervous system and immune response. During this cold and flu season, add chiropractic care to boost your immune function and enhance your body’s natural line of protection.
Kelly Tolle is a Doctor of Chiropractic and mother of three small children. Owner of Family Chiropractic of Heathrow, she is dedicated to improving her patients quality of life thru chiropractic, nutrition, and massage therapy at the Colonial Town Park location. Visit www.familychiropracticofheathrow.com